Symbiotic conversations are revealed under genetic interrogation

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2008 Oct;6(10):752-62. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1958.


The recent development and application of molecular genetics to the symbionts of invertebrate animal species have advanced our knowledge of the biochemical communication that occurs between the host and its bacterial symbionts. In particular, the ability to manipulate these associations experimentally by introducing genetic variants of the symbionts into naive hosts has allowed the discovery of novel colonization mechanisms and factors. In addition, the role of the symbionts in inducing normal host development has been revealed, and its molecular basis described. In this Review, I discuss many of these developments, focusing on what has been discovered in five well-understood model systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / genetics
  • Insecta / microbiology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Symbiosis / genetics
  • Symbiosis / physiology*